Good Gourd: 12 Pumpkin Desserts to Celebrate the Season

Once a humble, orange gourd best known for adorning dining room tables and decorating doorsteps, pumpkin has become a divisive element of the fall culinary landscape. Each year, pumpkin in all forms appears in coffee shops, grocery stores, and restaurants across the country, to the delight of some and exhaustion of others. We’re taking a stance, though, however controversial: we love pumpkin. Whether it be the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte, a creamy, comforting bowl of soup, or a hot-from-the-oven bread, we’re all in. However, pumpkin desserts reign supreme in our diets. From tiramisu to fritters to the most distinctly autumn ice cream sandwich, check out how chefs from around the country do justice to our favorite fall flavors.

Ginger Snap Cookie and Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwich, CBD Provisions, Dallas, Texas
This modern-yet-inviting brasserie in the heart of downtown Dallas is open all day, but make sure to stop in for lunch or dinner for a taste of fall on a plate. Executive pastry chef Keith Cedotal combined two of the season’s best, most quintessential flavors in his Gingersnap Cookie Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwich with housemade cookies and a coating of pumpkin seeds for a little added texture. If we could dole these out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, we’d officially be the most popular house on the block. Make a reservation at CBD Provisions.

Pumpkin Desserts

Pumpkin Spice Gelato, Alla Spina, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Among the many reasons to love chef Marc Vetri’s Italian gastropub is the extensive beer selection (including the Victory Verde, a saison made exclusively for the Vetri family restaurants,) the comforting yet impressive, pork-centric menu, and, not least, the soft serve gelato. Flavors change seasonally, but this fall enjoy a Pumpkin Spice swirl in a cup, on a cone, or, for a little pick me up, an affogato with a shot of espresso. Make a reservation at Alla Spina.

Pumpkin Desserts

Pumpkin Basque Cake, The Bristol, Chicago, Illinois
Renowned chef Grant Achatz has called the Basque cake at this beloved American restaurant in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood one of his favorite desserts in the city. A staple on the menu, pastry chef Amanda Rockman has given the cake an autumn spin, adding pumpkin marmalade — made from scratch by cooking a mixture of small diced pumpkin tossed in maple sugar and lemon zest — and a garnish of candied sage, spiced pumpkin seeds, and maple chantilly to the classic Spanish dessert. “If you can find them, the best pumpkin for marmalade that I have found is called a Long Island Cheese Squash,” asserts Chef Rockman. “Odd name, but great pumpkin.” Make a reservation at The Bristol.

Pumpkin desserts

Tiramisu’ Alla Zucca, Lago, Las Vegas, Nevada
At this stylish spot in the Bellagio, get a front row seat to the resort’s famous fountain show while enjoying plates like crudo, small pizzas, and focaccia. And for those celebrating Thanksgiving in town, don’t miss the seasonal spin on the traditional Italian dessert. Tiramusu’ Alla Zucca layers pumpkin mascarpone mousse onto espresso-soaked lady fingers in an indulgent, impressive — and appropriately Vegas — presentation. Make a reservation at Lago.

Pumpkin Desserts

Pumpkin Cake in a Box, BOA Steakhouse, Santa Monica, California
The classic steakhouse gets an L.A. twist at this perpetually buzzing Santa Monica hot spot. After treating yourself to a juicy steak — the 40-day, dry-aged New York Strip or bone-in Kansas City filet mignon are among the many menu heavy-hitters — the Cake in a Box is an apt ending. With moist, spiced pumpkin cake, vanilla cream cheese icing, anisette cream, and candied pecans, the “box” aspect of this dessert means taking it to go is just as easy as diving in on site. Make a reservation at BOA Steakhouse.

Pumpkin Desserts

Baked Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts, Taste on Melrose, West Hollywood, California
Paired with a hot coffee at brunch or saved for dessert at lunch or dinnertime, the Baked Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut — made with a soft pumpkin brioche, drenched in butter, and covered in cinnamon and sugar — makes for a perfectly autumn indulgence at this warm little neighborhood spot. Or, opt for the spicy Pumpkin Crumb Cake, topped with an almond nutmeg crumb layer. With ample outdoor seating for L.A.’s 364 days of sunshine, enjoy either one of executive pastry chef Katie Shyne’s house-baked creations and win fall. Make a reservation at Taste on Melrose.

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Last-Minute Thanksgiving Reservations: Deals + Offers

Last-Minute Thanksgiving Reservations

ICYMI, Thanksgiving is just days away. If it slipped your mind (or your stomach), fear not. There is availability at top restaurants in cities all across the nation. To wit, we’ve rounded up a variety of deals and offers in our last-minute Thanksgiving reservations guide for restaurants in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Read on and start booking!

A bit more: Le Bilboquet: With an all-day special menu, French favorite Le Bilboquet is open from 12PM-8PM and serving a 3-course meal at $65 per person and $25 for kids under 12.
A bit less: B’s Bistro: B’s is offering a traditional four-course turkey, ham or Scottish salmon Thanksgiving feast from 1PM-7PM. It’s just $34.95 plus tax and service, and $16.00 for the 12 and under crew.
A bit different: The SHED at Glenwood: Dig into an amazing Thanksgiving buffet with all the holiday classics! With seatings from noon to 7PM, it’s $50 for adults and $20 for kids 3-11.
Find more Thanksgiving restaurant reservations in Atlanta.

A bit more: Bar Boulud: Celebrate with friends and family while enjoying a three-course, prix-fixe Thanksgiving Day spread. Enjoy seasonal classics with a French twist, from 12PM-8PM for $85 apiece.
A bit less: Amuse: Chef Martin Quinn is creating a special three-course Thanksgiving prix-fixe menu for only $28 per person.
A bit different: Club Café: Do good while digging into the sumptuous buffet at Club Café. Served 11AM-4PM, it’s $29.95 per person and 10% of food sales will be donated to The Boston Living Center and the dollar donation will be matched by Mark West wines.
Find more Thanksgiving restaurant reservations in Boston.

A bit more: Cite: Feast with your family and friends on a hearty Thanksgiving brunch buffet on the 70th floor of the prestigious Lake Point Tower, from 10:30AM-2:30PM. Adults are $85 each, and kids eat for $38.
A bit less: Brasserie LM: Brasserie by LM will celebrate Thanksgiving with a $35 prix-fixe menu. Menu items include Roasted Chestnut Soup, Fried Ham Steak with bacon & Brussels sprout hash, and yummy Pumpkin Pie.
A bit different: Vermillion: Partake of the most unabashed innovative Thanksgiving feast that has earned raves from the Wall Street Journal, among others. The four-course global meal is big on herbs and spice with a Latin-Indian twist. Vegetarian options abound. $55 per person.
Find more Thanksgiving restaurant reservations in Chicago.

A bit more: Element 47: The three-course prix fixe Thanksgiving menu gets a luxe spin at Element. Book for the $99 per person experience with an optional $65 wine pairing.
A bit less: Hodson’s Bar and Grill-Southglenn: Enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner two ways — traditional with all the fixings for $17 or a smoked turkey with root vegetable gratin for $16. Both options are served all day, from 11AM-8PM.
A bit different: Kachina Southwestern Grill: Add a southwestern accent to your day with this family-style “Back to Our Roots” supper from 11AM-9PM. The four courses feature Achiote Turkey, Smoked Prime Rib, and traditional sides. $40 for adults and $15 for children.
Find more Thanksgiving restaurant reservations in the Denver area.

A bit more: Carbon Beach Club Restaurant at The Malibu Beach Inn: Surf into the holiday with a beachside Thanksgiving dinner. There are three courses for $ 85 per person with wine pairings available upon request.
A bit less: The Front Yard: You don’t have to stress about cooking this year if you hit up The Front Yard! Chef Chris is serving a save-ory menu at just $39 for adults and $18 kids 12 and under.
A bit different: The Hungry Cat: It’s tender vittles all the way with offerings that include deep-fried turkey, spiced cranberry, chorizo and oyster stuffing, potato puree and more, plus dessert.
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Let’s Go to the Mall: Where to Eat on Black Friday

Are you ready for the madness and the mayhem of the holiday shopping season? Black Friday marks its frenetic beginning as everyone realizes there are just a few more weeks left to purchase presents for their loved ones and they hit up the nearest mega-mall. Shopping becomes a competitive sport, so you’re going to need to bring your A game. But you can’t do that without fueling up. A good meal or two is requisite. However, you’re so much better than the puck-like burgers and fried-beyond-recognition nuggets being hawked in the food court. Here’s where to eat on Black Friday when shopping at America’s biggest malls.

Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota: Tucci Benucch
Believe it or not, this home-style Italian eatery is a longtime favorite of Mr. Bizarre Foods himself, TV host Andrew Zimmern, who lives nearby. He’s a big fan of their chopped chicken salad, egg-topped pasta carbonara, and focaccia. The whole menu is rife with comfort foods – ‘zas galore, a hearty chicken parm, handmade mozzarella, and a thick block of meaty lasagna. The kids menu is equally impressive, offering more than half a dozen different types of pastas alongside pint-sized pizzas. It’s the perfect pick-up during a midday rest stop or a nice finale after a long day of consumerism. Find other restaurants near Mall of America.

Where to Eat on Black Friday

King of Prussia Mall, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania: Seasons 52
This time of year comes with a free E-Z Pass to decadence and overindulgence. However, one cannot survive on eggnog, white peppermint M&Ms, and sandwiches forged out of Thanksgiving leftovers alone. You need some moderation in your diet. That’s where this health-conscious concept comes in. Almost every dish on the menu is under 500 calories, which will help you start to make up for the entire bourbon pecan pie you scarfed down the day before (their mini pecan pie with vanilla bean mousse and whipped cream only clocks in at a modest 370 calories). Plus, there are plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-sensitive, sodium-friendly, and lactose-free options available, so it’s easy to accommodate a bunch of diners with a variety of dietary regimens. Find other restaurants near King of Prussia Mall.

Where to Eat on Black Friday

Aventura Mall, Aventura, Florida: Bourbon Steak
Located just across the street from the mall in the Turnberry Isle Hotel, this primo steakhouse from Michael Mina is worth the walk. Plus, you could use a stretch and stroll after all the calories you consumed the day before. That being said, we do love to indulge once we get there. Start off with Petrossian caviar or Alaskan king crab before moving on to Maine lobster pot pie and Japanese Wagyu New York strip steak. Every meal includes a trio of French fries with three dipping sauces, but you should supplement them with the truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, roasted cauliflower, and grilled Vidalia onions. PS: You’re welcome. Find other restaurants near the Aventura Mall.

Where to Eat on Black Friday

South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, California: Marché Moderne
Earning raves as the “best French bistro in California,” this Gallic standout is powered by husband-and-wife team Florent and Amelia Marneau. Their dishes are familiar but elevated to new heights with unexpected accents. Pickled mango confiture brightens cold foie gras terrine while the richness of the sweetbreads is cut by the addition of licorice root. We are always drawn to the salad topped with pink centered rectangles of tuna crusted with fennel seed, coriander, and black pepper — and we always get the twice-fried pomme frites. So simple, yet so unbelievably good. Find other restaurants near South Coast Plaza.

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Get Stuffed: 12 Super Thanksgiving Stuffings from Top Restaurants

Sure, turkey is the de facto star of the table on Thanksgiving, but let’s face it. Most of us live for stuffing or dressing as it’s also called. We’re not talking about week-old bread crumbs tossed together with a predictable poultry spice mix and some high-salt chicken stock here. No, this is about the unforgettable, too-good-to-line-your-leftover-sandwich stuffing. The dish that makes you completely forget there’s a gobbler in the middle of the table awaiting your attention. White or dark? Who cares! Pass me the stuffing. Again, please. Here are 12 super Thanksgiving stuffings that will have you ordering seconds.

Mercat a la Planxa, Chicago, Illinois
Meet the Catalan version of classic New England oyster stuffing. Razor clams dot saffron spiced squash bread pudding finished off with a splash of sherry pan jus. As they say in the northeastern Spanish region, “Déu n’hi do!” (Translation: Wow!)

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

The Lambs Club, New York, New York
Cornbread forms the backbone of chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s stuffing. He accents the side dish with pork sausage and ground fennel seed, as well as the usual suspects: onions, carrots, celery, and plenty of garlic. The results are sweet ‘n’ savory – and sure to linger long in your memory even after Thanksgiving is a distant dot in your rear view mirror.

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

Filini, Chicago, Illinois
You could make a meal out of this stuffing. Chef Carolina Diaz incorporates ground beef, dried cranberries, chestnuts, and walnuts into the mix, which gets an herbaceous boost from rosemary, parsley, and thyme. Try to remember to save some room for the actual turkey.

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

Oceana, New York, New York
You’ve never had a gobbler quite like executive chef Ben Pollinger’s Cape Cod turkey. That’s because it’s completely poultry-free. He uses roast cod instead, which he packs with a über-rich crabmeat stuffing that’s so good you’ll be clacking claws with your dining companions to get seconds of it.

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

Acadiana, Washington, D.C.
Stuffing done the Bay way. Chesapeake-sourced oysters and their briny liquor enrich this T-Day standout by chef Jeff Tunks. The dish is finished off with plenty of butter in order to…actually, no reason required. #buttermakeseverythingbetter

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

Dino’s Grotto, Washington, D.C.
Here’s something we’ve never seen before: stuffing soup. Turkey stock-based Italian bread soup features hearty plugs of turkey sausage floating in its dark depths. Remember, it’s not polite to pick up the bowl with both hands and loudly slurp up its contents.

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